How to Become a Licensed Psychologist in Alabama
The field of psychology is growing throughout the country, and in the state of Alabama, it’s no different. According to job trend information supplied by the Alabama Department of Labor psychology is one of the fastest growing professional fields in the state, with approximately 1,180 new psychologists expected to enter to the workforce through the year 2022.
Individuals who plan on becoming a psychologist in Alabama must prepare for strict professional standards and licensing requirements established by the state. In the following sections, we provide specific information about the education, supervised training and examination requirements that must be met in order to become licensed.
Education Requirements for Licensure in Alabama
According to Alabama Code 1975 §34-26-1, an applicant must have a doctoral degree from a department or school of psychology from an educational institution accredited and recognized by national and regional accrediting agencies as maintaining satisfactory standards. Canadian applicants must have attended an institution that is publicly recognized and in good standing with Universities Canada (formerly the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada).
Program curriculum must have consisted of at least three academic years (9 months each) of full-time graduate study, including 60 semester hours of psychology coursework (excluding internship hours), 24 semester hours of core coursework. and 36 semester hours of elective or specialty courses. Examples of core coursework include:
- The History and Systems of Psychology
- Research Methods & Experimental Design
- Theory of Psychological Measurement
- Developmental Psychology
- Cognitive Psychology
- Social Psychology
- Abnormal Psychology/Psychopathology
- Personality Theory
Earning a doctoral degree is an academic achievement that typically takes 2 to 4 years to complete and is the culmination of many years of educational planning and persistence. Students who make the decision to pursue a career in psychology often choose to focus their undergraduate studies on psychology or a closely related field, in order to earn the pre-requisite credit hours needed to apply to a graduate program. If becoming a psychologist is part of your future, take the time to understand the educational path to licensure and research the AL psychology degrees that will help you reach your goals.
Alabama Internship Training Requirements
All applicants for licensure must have successfully completed an internship training program accredited by the American Psychological Association or the Canadian Psychological Association. Unlike many states, there are no supervised professional experience requirements to be recognized by the state board. Listed below are several accredited internship programs available to students in Alabama:
University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical Center
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology
SPC4, 1530 3rd Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35294-0018
Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System
2400 Hospital Road
Tuskegee, AL 36083
Alabama Psychology License Examination
The Alabama State Board requires that individuals record a passing score on the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) which is administered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). This examination is the standard by which all candidates for licensure within the field of psychology are measured.
The examination covers 8 different content areas, including:
- Biological Bases of Behavior
- Cognitive-Affective Bases of Behavior
- Social and Cultural Bases of Behavior
- Growth and Lifespan Development
- Assessment and Diagnosis
- Treatment, Intervention, Prevention and Supervision
- Research Methods and Statistics
- Ethical, Legal and Professional Issues
The examination is a multiple-choice test which contains 225 items. Of those, 175 are scored and 50 are considered “pretest items,” and do not count in the final score. The fee to take the examination is $600, required by the ASPBB, and there is an additional $200 application processing fee required by the Alabama Board of Examiners in Psychology.
Note: More information is available on the process of becoming a psychologist in the state of Alabama from the Alabama Board of Examiners in Psychology.
Alabama Psychology Career Information
According to data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were approximately 660 clinical, counseling and school psychologists and 120 psychologists in the category of "other", employed within the state of Alabama as of May 2104. These professionals earned an annual median wage between $85,440 and $87,570. These wages area approximately 26% higher than the national annual median wage of $67,760. The BLS defines the median wage as the “center line,” meaning that half of all psychologists earn above this line and half earn below this line.